Tips for managing IBS

A quick summary:

We’ve teamed up with Field Doctor, who make the UK’s first certified low FODMAP ready meals, to offer some tips and advice for how to manage IBS and support loved ones or colleagues in the workplace. 

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, is a common digestive condition that may affect more than 1 in 10 people[1] in the UK. There is no specific cause for the condition and may be a combination of food and stresses that trigger painful IBS symptoms. 

What is IBS?

IBS symptoms include stomach pain or stomach cramps, bloating, wind, diarrhoea and/or constipation. There may not be a quick fix for IBS but there are many things you can do to get on your way to tackling the daily discomfort of IBS. 

Registered Dietitian and Field Doctor’s Co-Founder Sasha Watkins shares her top 10 tips for IBS sufferers, including some tips on how to support people living with IBS: 

Don’t suffer in silence 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Many people leave their symptoms for years and years as they are too embarrassed to talk about them or they are unaware that there is something they can do to improve their symptoms. 

Get a proper diagnosis 

Don’t lose hours to Google or online intolerance tests! Please contact your GP to get a proper diagnosis of IBS and rule out any other conditions with similar symptoms (e.g. coeliac disease). 

Everyone is different 

There is no one-size fits-all approach to dealing with IBS. There are several ways to deal with IBS, but the effectiveness will vary from person to person and their specific symptoms. Anticipate trial and error at first and changes along the way. 

Make one change at a time 

Keep a record of which foods, events or activities trigger your symptoms and then monitor any changes you make. By only changing one thing you can better understand what has helped. 

Choose reliable sources of information 

There is a lot of misinformation online so be picky about which advice you follow. Reliable sources of information include; the NHS website, NHS health care practitioners, The IBS Network, Guts UK and the British Dietetic Association. 

Think about how you eat 

Eat regular meals each day, trying not to skip any meals or eating late at night. Smaller meal sizes may ease symptoms and take time to eat your meals, chewing your food well. 

Explore possible dietary triggers 

Common triggers for IBS symptoms include processed, fatty or fried foods, alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods, not drinking sufficient fluids or eating enough fibre. If you want further dietary guidance please ask your GP to refer you to a dietitian. 

Consider the low FODMAP diet 

A special type of diet that avoids foods high in FODMAP’s (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols) can also be effective but it should only be done under the supervision of an IBS dietitian to ensure it is done safely and properly. 

Think beyond diet 

Stress and lifestyle factors play a big role in IBS. Take time to relax, try meditation, do regular exercise, get enough sleep or consider counselling. 

Don’t give up! 

It is possible to live well with IBS. It may take some determination to get there. Be kind to yourself as it is incredibly hard having IBS and it may feel frustrating or even frightening at times. You don’t have to do it alone, there is support available! 

Support your loved ones with IBS 

IBS can have a profound impact on daily life so be compassionate, encourage open conversation about their IBS experience and ask what you can do to help. No two people with IBS are the same when it comes to triggers or symptoms or how they manage it so understanding what works for them is important. 

Field Doctor & Heka

Delivered directly to your door, Field Doctor offers nutritionally supercharged frozen meals and are the first and only brand in the UK to have launched a range of low FODMAP meals. 

Field Doctor currently offers 22 FODMAP meals from Sweet Potato and Spinach Korma, to Teriyaki Salmon and Whole Grain Rice, Smokey Chipotle Meatballs and Red Pesto and Roasted Vegetable Penne. 

We’ve teamed up with Field Doctor to offer Heka members exclusive deals on their bundles, including a Low FODMAP bundle, a Vegan bundle and a bundle designed for good Immunity and Brain Health. Explore the full range here.

About Field Doctor 

Field Doctor was founded in 2020 by Martin Dewey (founder of Square Pie), Sasha Watkins, Alex Brooks and Matt Williamson. All Field Doctor meals are underpinned by peer-reviewed nutrition research to help people enjoy great food that fit their dietary requirements and needs. 

The Field Doctor meals help immunity, gut health, brain & cognitive health, energy (reduction of tiredness and fatigue), bone health, heart health, muscles, eye health, skin health. 

In October 2021 Field Doctor won Women’s and Men’s Fitness’ Nutrition Hero Awards for best Meal Delivery and Women’s Health Best Health Food Products Money Can’t Buy award in September 2021. In June 2021 Field Doctor’s British Fish Pie and Beef + Quinoa Meatballs was awarded Gold by Taste of the West in the Ready Meal category. Their Malaysian Tofu Curry was also awarded Gold in their Free-From category.